Advocacy group will not force referendum on $13 billion bonds for power

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The Associated Press

An influential consumer advocacy group has decided not to seek a public referendum on the state’s plan to issue $13 billion in bonds for power purchases.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights will instead focus its energy on qualifying an energy reform initiative for a statewide ballot next year, it was reported Friday in the Oakland Tribune.

“We have grave concerns but we’ve concluded that given the resources and what we want to accomplish, we’d be better off waiting to deal with it all in November,” the Harvey Rosenfield, the group’s executive director. “It’s just a question of what makes the most sense.”

The group’s decision makes it unlikely that voters will directly judge Davis’ plan for the state to pay for energy purchases and removes what the Davis administration and Democratic lawmakers have called a serious threat to the state budget and the California economy.

Assembly Democrats supported the Democratic governor and maneuvered around Republican opposition last week to approve a bond issue intended to reimburse the state for nearly $7 billion already authorized for electricity purchases and to cover future costs.

The referendum would have sought to overturn that bond decision, and would have put the bond issue on hold until the outcome of the challenge.

A referendum would have been “grossly irresponsible” at this point, said Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, an independent, nonprofit fiscal policy group.

Consumer Watchdog
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